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Is Perception More Important Than Reality in Marketing?

All that exists in the world of marketing is a perception in the minds of the customer and that perception is the only absolute truth about the world and what it contains and everything else is an allusion. There is no objective reality, no facts, no best products, there exists only one thing which is a perception in the minds of prospects which makes perception more important than reality in marketing.

In Marketing perception of customers about certain products or services is more important than what those products and services really are in reality. Perception is so much important that two products could have different sales orders in two different countries and could be known for different things in two different geographical areas.

In this world, people may cling firmly to the belief that reality is the world outside of the mind but actually, it is the opposite. The only reality that one can be sure about is the reality that exists in perception. If the universe exists it exists only in your mind and of the others and that is what the real marketing program must deal with.

There may well be oceans, houses, mountains, cities, and towns there is not any way to know that such things exist except throughout own perceptions and marketing is a manipulation of those perceptions.

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Marketing Is Not a Battle Of Products But The Battle Of Perception

Most of the mistakes in marketing are rooted in the assumption that you are fighting a product battle rooted in reality. What some marketers see as natural laws of marketing are based on a flawed premise that the product is a hero of the marketing campaign and that you will win or lose based on the merits of the product which ultimately leads to a bad marketing program.

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Marketers should study how perceptions are formed in the mind and focus those marketing programs on those perceptions that will help overcome basically incorrect marketing instincts.

Changing a prospect’s mind is a very difficult matter. Even a modicum of experience with any product can make any prospect thinks that his or her perception is the universal truth. People are often, if ever wrong. At least in their own minds.

It is very easy to see the power of perception over a product when the products are separated by some distance.

For example, In America, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan are the three largest selling Japanese imported cars. Most marketing people think that the battle between the three brands is on the basis of price, horsepower, styling, and quality. But that is not true, actually what people think about these brands determines which brand will win the game. Marketing is a battle of perception.

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Japanese car which is sold in both japan and America is same in every sense. had it been the battle of products then sales order of these brands would have been same for both the countries. But data says the opposite of what the above theory entails. Honda being the top imported Japanese car in America is nowhere near the leader in Japan. honda is behind Toyota and Nissan in Japan. In fact, Toyota sells four times what honda sells in Japan.

So what could be the difference between Honda in japan and Honda in America? Products are the same but the perception of prospects about these brands are different in these two countries.

so if you say to your friend in America that you have purchased a honda. they will ask you what kind of car you have purchased but if say the same thing in japan then your friend will say what kind of motorcycle you have purchased.

So you see honda is famous for its car in America but for bikes in japan. The same goes with Harley Davidson, we all that it is a motorcycle brand but what if it starts making cars will it be successful. I know you might be thinking that will it depends on whether will it be successful or not, will depend on a lot of factors like price, quality, etc.

But what if I tell you that even after having these kinds of things the brand will have a hard time in getting its brand known for its car as people have already in their mind that it is famous for its motorcycle. and most people will not buy cars from motorcycle manufacturer companies.

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Can you tell me why Campbell’s soup is no. 1 in the United States and nowhere in the United Kingdom? Marketing is the battle of perception and not products. Marketing is the process of dealing with those perceptions.

Soft drink executives think that marketing is a battle of taste. Well as per the test conducted by Coca-cola new coke is best in taste and classic coke is worst. So as per this sales order of these two coke would have been according to the taste but classic coke is no. 1 in the sale.

So think what you think, taste what you want to taste but soft drink marketing is a  battle of perception.

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Importance of Perception in Consumer Behaviour

What makes this battle even more difficult is the effect of perception on consumer behavior. Perception holds so much importance that consumers even base their buying decision on second-hand perception. What I mean by second-hand perception is what people think about certain products or services.

Like if a certain brand of any company working well for you but the perception of this brand is not well in the market then you just might have been fortunate or it is not working for you but the perception of this brand is well and good in the market then you just might have been unfortunate.

For example, everybody knows that the Japanese make higher-quality cars than Americans do. so people make their buying decision on the fact that everybody knows Japanese makes higher-quality cars rather than experiencing the product themselves. so if you ask shoppers whether they have had any personal experience with the product, most often they would be answering negatively, and more often their own experience is twisted to conform to the popular perception about the product.

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Like if a certain brand of any company working well for them but the perception of this brand is not well in the market then they would just feel fortunate or if it is not working for them but the perception of that brand is well and good in the market then they would feel that they just have been unfortunate.

There is a wide belief that there is a problem with Audi cars. CBS broadcasted a “60 Minutes” segment called “Out of Control”, On November 23, 1986.  It brought to notice a number of complaints about Audi’s “unintended acceleration. Sales of Audis fell through the floorboards— from 60,000 in 1986 to 12,000 in 1991 in America.

But it is unlikely that you ever personally had any problems with “unintended acceleration” while test-driving an Audi? There had been an ongoing test conducted by an automobile expert to duplicate the complaint but have miserably failed. But still, the perception lingers on.

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In marketing warfare, Audi has been running an ad where it is comparing its car with BMW’s and Mercedes’s one. As per the ad, German experts are rating Audi’s car ahead of BMW and Mercedes, but does it really matter? Do you believe it? Marketing is a battle of perception and not products.

Saquib Ahmed
Hi, I am a business student, currently learning about Finance and Digital Marketing. I have also a keen interest in technology too. I enjoy reading and presently I am reading "The Psychology of Money". With these blogs, I am trying to make a journal for myself so that later when I look back I can see how due to my small initiative, helped to shape people's life and how much I grew.


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